Mineral Ridge outlasts Jackson-Milton with late goal to record 1-0 win
WEATHERSFIELD — Following an evening where the Mineral Ridge Rams kept making the long pass down the sideline, it was almost a matter of time before one drive came to fruition.
With 3:34 left in their contest against Jackson-Milton, Mineral Ridge junior Landon Pal blasted a wide-open shot downfield that slipped into the left side of the net past Blue Jays goalkeeper Brady Cole.
Celebratory high fives ensued for the Mineral Ridge team that spent much of the match on the attack. His score, during the final moments, earned the Rams a 1-0 victory over the Blue Jays, completing the season sweep of their Mahoning Valley Athletic Conference foe.
“I just received the ball and saw that there was no one in front of me, so I just took a touch, looked up, and let it rip,” Pal said. “You don’t, it’s just like a feeling inside of you, you just know. It felt amazing, just an unbelievable shot.
“We wanted to slow it down, and look for passes and not try to send them over because they were beating us and we couldn’t get the ball. We tried to slow it down and use our drops and everything.”
Moments prior, there was a few scrums at the net following corner kicks, but nothing on target. Leading up the game-winning goal, senior captain Audri Gaydosh found possession and noticed Pal left unattended at midfield.
She understood that was her team’s opportunity.
“I was hoping that one would eventually go in. Sometimes you just get unlucky games where you don’t have one to go in, sometimes you get a lot. It was very nice to finally get one,” Gaydosh said. “Just composed myself, obviously you’re always looking for an open player and always trying to find somebody that has a good shot on goal, especially if you don’t. If you see him wide up, you just play him the ball and hope for the best.”
Mineral Ridge (5-2) outshot the Blue Jays 14-3, and limited Jackson-Milton on opportunities. Blue Jays junior Zach Koontz made a great effort and nearly punched one in with a hair over six minutes left, but Rams senior Clayton Butler made an effort 10 yards from the net to corral the ball.
Mineral Ridge coach Ted Gaydosh was pleased with the defensive effort his team fielded, earning their second consecutive shutout.
“We’re always looking at the results, we’re trying to build a program, so we’re trying to teach the kids to play the right way, and winning becomes a byproduct of doing things that way,” he said. “We’re a co-ed team, Jackson-Milton is co-ed as well, but most of the teams that we compete against are all boys, and it’s nice to see them starting to compete against these other teams.
“We’re very organized defensively in the back-line. Once we get possession, maintaining possession, building out of the back. Being able to switch the field of play through the back-line or dropping the ball through our goalie, it’s something we’ve been working on for a long time.”
The Rams previously defeated Jackson-Milton 2-1 on the road earlier in the season. Seeing a team for a second time always makes for an exciting matchup.
“I’d say they were out for revenge a bit, they were really hustling, I’ll give that to them, they were working really hard.” Audri said. “It’s just that fight, we wanted it again. We didn’t want to lose and give that up and give them the satisfaction of revenge.”